Seeing race: Frederick Douglass & W. E. B. DuBois

What historical turn made racial distinction the primary marker of distinction?
Race, as such, only became important with the dawn of modernity and specifically capitalism. Capitalism provided the motivation (accruing profit at the least possible expense) and the means (commodification) to make race the primary marker of difference in modern nations. While slavery had always existed, it wasn’t until the advent of capitalism that chattel slavery—people seen as property—could exist.
How is called the type of slavery in which slaves are commodified property?
It is called chattel slavery.
What was a
What was a “slave breaker”?
slave breaker (plural slave breakers)

A person who specializes in destroying the wills of unruly slaves. Most often used in the context of the antebellum American South.
Great George was acting up, so his master sent him to a slave breaker.

When Frederick was about 12, Auld’s [slave-holder] wife, Sophia, began teaching him how to read. When Auld found out. he made his wife stop, saying that reading would only make a black slave discontented. Frederick Douglass later said that it was the first antislavery speech he had ever heard.
True to Thomas Auld’s prediction, reading apparently did make Frederick dis-contented. Auld began having trouble with Frederick and took him, at the age of 16,
to Edward Covey, a known “slave breaker.” Frederick was beaten regularly and given little food. The experience nearly broke him. He attempted escape on three different occasions. A light finally dawned for the future abolitionist in the person of Anna Murray, a free black woman living in Baltimore. Her life and presence gave Frederick new hope, and finally, in 1838 he made a successful escape to New York City. Murray had provided him with money and a sailor’s uniform, and he carried identification papers provided by a free black sailor. Of that day Douglass (1882) wrote,
A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the “quick
round of blood,” I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life I felt as one might feel who had escaped from a den of hungry lions, (p. 170 )

Who was William Lloyd Garrison and what was his link to Douglass?
William Lloyd Garrison (December 12, 1805 – May 24, 1879) was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, suffragist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, which he founded in 1831 and published in Massachusetts until slavery was abolished by Constitutional amendment after the American Civil War. He was one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society. He promoted “immediate emancipation” of slaves in the United States. In the 1870s, Garrison became a prominent voice for the woman suffrage movement.

Douglass continued his self-directed education, subscribed to William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator, and soon began attending abolitionist meetings. Garrison (n.d.) was a white abolitionist who didn’t pull any punches when it came to racial inequality: “I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with mod¬eration. … I am in earnest-—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD” (n.p.). Soon after beginning to read The Liberator, Douglass (1882) had a chance to hear him speak: “I sat away back in the hall and listened to his might words—might in truth—might in simple earnestness” (p. 181).
In the summer of 1841, Garrison invited Douglass to accompany him to an abolitionist meeting, which he gladly accepted. While the meeting was in progress, a man who had heard Douglass speak with his “colored friends” at a schoolhouse, approached him and invited him to address the meeting. Douglass said he “trem- bled in every limb” hut spoke to the group. After the meeting, John Collins, the general agent tor the Massachusetts Antislavery Association, asked Douglass to become one of its regular agents. The position would involve travel and speaking to groups, and Douglass was at first hesitant, unsure of his skill and afraid that public speaking would expose him to the slave master he had fled.
Yet he ultimately took the position and spent the next few years speaking in churches and at abolitionist meetings. Though he always drew a crowd, people in the crowd would often heckle and at times violence broke out. Because of his eloquence and intelligence, many whites were convinced Douglass had never been a slave. Eventually, this wore on him, so he decided to write out his life. He published his first autobiography: The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1882). The book was a best seller in the United States and was also published in Europe.

What was the name of the newspaper Douglass published?
After his return, Douglass again took up the cause of black people in the United States. He published an abolitionist paper, The North Star and others from 1847 to 1863. Douglass’s (1847) views were clearly expressed in his first issue: “It has long been our anxious wish to see. in this slave-holding, slave-trading, and Negro-hating land, a printing-press and paper, permanently established, under the complete control and direction of the immediate victims of slavery and oppression” (n.p.).
What was Douglass’s stance as to women’s rights?
Douglass supported the efforts for women’s rights in print, actions, and speech. He attended the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention (1848) and signed The Declaration of Rights and Sentiments (declaration of women’s rights), and his last speech was delivered to the National Council of Women (1893).
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What was the reason why Douglass and Garrison parted?
Douglass parted company with his mentor William Garrison. The primary point of contention was the U.S. Constitution. Garrison felt that the Constitution was a document forged in hell and was proslavery. Garrison’s approach to emancipation, then, was radical and revolutionary. Douglass, on the other hand, argued that the Constitution could be used to help free slaves; he saw it as a document that could, in the end, legitimate freedom and equality for all.
What is public sociology?
To talk about Douglass, I want to introduce you to the idea of public sociology. The idea was initially introduced by Herbert Cans (1989) in his presidential address to the American Sociological Association (ASA). Cans argued that sociology should become more involved in public issues and discourse. One of the reasons Cans identified for why sociology isn’t as socially involved as he wanted is scientism, the belief that sociological methods should be modeled on the natural sciences. In arguing against scientism, Cans first pointed out that even “natural scientists do not operate according to the idealized conception of their method” (p. 11). More spe¬cifically, according to Gans, there is a prejudice for the natural science model in modern culture generally, and academic disciplines of various ilks feel pressured to conform in order to qualify as legitimate.
Gaus s address began a movement for a “public sociology,” one that was later advanced by Michael Burawoy (2005) in his own ASA presidential address: “the standpoint of sociology is civil society and the defense of the social. In times of market tyranny and state despotism, sociology—and in particular its public face—defends the interests of humanity” (p. 24). Ben Agger (2000) sees the busi-ness of public sociology as moving from social facts to literary acts. Agger’s “intent is to foster a public sociology, which acknowledges that it is a literary version, confesses its animating assumptions and investments, and addresses crucial public issues” (p. 2).
Public sociology refers to an approach to the discipline which seeks to transcend the academy in order to engage with wider audiences. It is perhaps best understood as a style of sociology rather than a particular method, theory, or set of political values. Michael Burawoy contrasted it with professional sociology, a form of academic sociology that is concerned primarily with addressing other professional sociologists.

Burawoy and other promoters of public sociology have sought to encourage the discipline to engage in explicitly public and political ways with issues stimulated by debates over public policy, political activism, the purposes of social movements, and the institutions of civil society. If there has been a “movement” associated with public sociology, then, it is one that has sought to revitalize the discipline of sociology by leveraging its empirical methods and theoretical insights to engage in debates not just about what is or what has been in society, but about what society might yet be. Thus, many versions of public sociology have had an undeniably normative and political character—a fact that has led a significant number of sociologists to oppose the approach.

The term “public sociology” was first introduced by Herbert Gans, in a 1988 address entitled “Sociology in America: The Discipline and the Public.” For Gans, primary examples of public sociologists included David Riesman, author of The Lonely Crowd, one of the best-selling books of sociology ever to be written, and Robert Bellah, the lead author of another best-selling work, Habits of the Heart. In 2000, sociologist Ben Agger wrote a book entitled Public Sociology: From Social Facts to Literary Acts which called for a sociology that addressed major public issues. Since Michael Burawoy’s 2004 Presidency of the American Sociological Association on a public sociology platform the phrase has received a great deal of attention and debate.

Debates over public sociology have rekindled questions concerning the extra-academic purpose of sociology. Public sociology raises questions about what sociology is and what its goals ought to (or even could) be. Such debates – over science and political advocacy, scholarship and public commitment – have a long history in American sociology and in American social science more generally. Historian Mark C. Smith, for instance, has investigated earlier debates over the purpose of social science in his book, Social Science in the Crucible: The American Debate over Objectivity and Purpose,1918-1941 (Duke University Press, 1994). And Stephen Park Turner and Jonathan H. Turner showed how the discipline’s search for a purpose, through dependence on external publics, has limited Sociology’s potential in their book, The Impossible Science: An Institutional Analysis of American Sociology (Sage, 1990).

While there is no one definition of “public sociology”, the term has come to be widely associated with Burawoy’s particular perspective of sociology. Burawoy’s personal statement for the ASA elections provides a succinct summary of his position: “As mirror and conscience of society, sociology must define, promote and inform public debate about deepening class and racial inequalities, new gender regimes, environmental degradation, market fundamentalism, state and non-state violence. I believe that the world needs public sociology – a sociology that transcends the academy – more than ever. Our potential publics are multiple, ranging from media audiences to policy makers, from silenced minorities to social movements. They are local, global, and national. As public sociology stimulates debate in all these contexts, it inspires and revitalizes our discipline. In return, theory and research give legitimacy, direction, and substance to public sociology. Teaching is equally central to public sociology: students are our first public for they carry sociology into all walks of life. Finally, the critical imagination, exposing the gap between what is and what could be, infuses values into public sociology to remind us that the world could be different.”

A significant number of those who practice sociology either as public intellectuals or as academic professionals do not subscribe to the specific version of “public sociology” defended by Michael Burawoy or to any version of “public sociology” at all. And in the wake of Burawoy’s 2004 Presidency of the American Sociological Association, which put the theme of public sociology in the limelight, the project of public sociology has been vigorously debated on the web, in conversations among sociologists, and in a variety of academic journals.

Specifically, Burawoy’s vision of public sociology has been critiqued both by “critical” sociologists and by representatives of academic sociology. These various discussions of public sociology have been included in forums devoted to the subject in academic journals such as Social Problems, Social Forces, Critical Sociology, and the British Journal of Sociology [2]. Public sociology faces fierce criticism on the grounds of both of its logic and its goals. Its critics claim that it is based on a false premise of consensus in the sociological community, arguing that “it greatly overestimates the uniformity of the moral and political agenda of sociologists.” [10] They question the possibility and the desirability of such moral agreement, pointing out that “almost every social issue involves moral dilemmas, not moral clarity. What is or is not ‘just’ is almost never unambiguous.”.[1] Others argue that public sociology is based on an uncritical and overly idealistic perception of the public sphere.[11]

Even stronger critiques come from academics who believe that the program of public sociology will unduly politicise the discipline and thus endanger the legitimacy sociology has in the public dialog.[1] These critics argue that the project of building a reliable body of knowledge about society is fundamentally incompatible with the goals of public sociology: “To the extent that we orient our work around moral principles, we are less likely to attend to theoretical issues. The greater the extent to which we favor particular outcomes, the less able are we to design our work to actually access such outcomes. And the more ideologically oriented our objectives, the less the chance that we can recognize or assimilate contrary evidence. In other words, rather than good professional sociology being mutually interactive with public sociology, I believe that public sociology gets in the way of good professional sociology.” [1]

One outspoken critic of public sociology was sociologist Mathieu Deflem of the University of South Carolina, who wrote various papers against public sociology and argued that public sociology:

“is neither public nor sociology. Public sociology is not a plea to make sociology more relevant to the many publics in society nor to connect sociology democratically to political activity. Of course sociologists should be public intellectuals. But they should be and can only be public intellectuals as practitioners of the science they practice, not as activists left or right. Yet public sociology instead is a quest to subsume sociology under politics, a politics of a specific kind, not in order to foster sociological activism but to narrow down the sociological discipline to activist sociology.”[12]

In opposition to public sociology, Deflem used to maintain the website,

What is discourse?
Frederick Douglass was in many ways the most important public spokesperson of his time. Without a doubt, he had the most powerful voice in creating the dis¬course of race in the United States. Stuart Hall (1996b) defines discourse as “a group of statements which provide a language for talking about—i.e., a way of representing—a particular kind of knowledge about a topic” (p. 201). Discourses are produced through language and practices. They are ways of talking about and acting toward an idea or group of people. One of the most powerful insights concerning discourses is that “anyone deploying a discourse must position them¬selves as they were the subject of the discourse” (p. 202). The example that Hall gives is the discourse of the West. Ever since the distinction between the East and the West was made, the West has been seen as more advanced, more modern, and so on. This is in fact one of the reasons the distinction was made—to talk about the West as superior. In this discourse, the West is the model toward which the “Rest” must strive. This discourse also places on obligation upon the West to assist the Rest in their move up the societal ladder. While you as an individual may not believe in the supremacy of the West, in order to talk about the relationship between the West and the Rest you must adopt a position as if you did believe it.
For example, anytime we use the terms third world nation, modernization, or globalization, we are positioning ourselves within the West/Rest discourse and implicit Western superiority.

Discourse is a theoretical concept that is widely used but is most specifically associated with the contemporary work of Michel Foucault. A discourse is an institutionalized way of thinking and speaking. It sets the limits of what can be spoken and, more importantly, how something may be spoken of. In setting these limits, discourses delineate the actors in a field, their relationships to one another, and their subjectivities. Discourses are thus an exercise of power.

• Our theoretical interest in Douglass’s work revolves around the idea of dis¬course. Discourse is a specific way of talking about something. It is common—we all use discourse—but it is also powerful because the discourse of an issue determines how we can think and talk about it. Moreover, discourse can be oppressive because it sets out the possibilities and impossibilities of specific social relations and experiences.
• Discourses also contain contradictory elements that can be used by disenfranchised groups to further their cause in a democracy. Douglass is particularly adept at this, using the ideas of Other and universalism to counter the discourse of slavery and race.

What did Douglass think about racism?
He thought it was learned behavior, that there was nothing essential about it.
In a country regulated by such a document the US Constitution, i.e. universal, what were the implications of slavery?
What happens when a generic term and specific one coincide? How does Hofstader call this phenomenon?
The power of racism and the institution of slavery are founded upon ideas con-cerning human nature. Throughout this text, I’ve emphasized the importance of beliefs concerning human nature. Modernity is founded on beliefs in natural rights and reason; the success or failure of modern democracy is in many ways tied up with those beliefs. If freedom and equality are based on human nature, then in order to deny those self-evident truths one must deny the humanity of another. The nature of slavery, then, is defined by a master “who claims and exercises a right of property in the person of a fellow-man,” and a slave who has been “divested of all right-— reduced to the level of a brute—a mere ‘chattel’ in the eye of the law-— placed beyond the circle of human brotherhood—cut off from his kind” (Douglass, 1850/2009b, p. 216).
It’s important to see that this denial is more profound than what occurs in gen¬der. In Chapter 7, we considered Beauvoir’s notion of the Other, with man as the standard and woman the Other. This is one reason why the second wave of femi- nism was concerned about the language of gender. Using such terms as man and he to represent people generally, helps establish men as the universal. Douglas Hofstadter (1985) calls this the “slippery slope of sexism”: “When a generic term and a ‘marked’ term… coincide, there is a possibility of mental blurring on the part of listeners and even on the part of the speaker” (p. 151). Hofstadter gives an example of a newscast that announces that the four-man space shuttle is on schedule. There may in fact be three women and a man, but we can’t know that from the report. The point is that some of the general, “men as all humanity,” is transferred over to specific men in particular. This sort of Otherness in gender denies the woman’s subjective experiences and authenticity.
How does Douglass characterize “the slave”?
Douglass characterizes the black man in this system as the “silent dead.” Ask a slave, he declares, what he or she thinks of enslavement and you will receive no answer: “There comes no voice from the enslaved” (Douglass, 1850/2009b, p. 219). To have an opinion and to voice that opinion presupposes a self who can be spoken to and who can respond. No such self exists in the slave.
What is speciation?
To create black slavery, the essential Other had to be created—if all men are created equal, then the slave is no man. This is speciation—the creation of a new species. In speaking about the expe-riences of blacks under white, colonial rule, Frantz Fanon (1961/2004) tells us Marx’s analysis of the ruling class has little to do with understanding white/black race relations: “The ruling species is first and foremost the outsider from elsewhere, different from the indigenous population, ‘the others'” (p. 8, emphasis added).
What are “existential angst” and “black existential angst” and who wrote about it?
Though colonialism and slavery don’t structurally exist today, the discourse that came out of those institutions can still spread its effects, as Cornel West tells us in his book Race Matters (2001). A key in his analysis of contemporary black experience is black existential angst. In general, existential angst refers to the profound insecurity and dread that accompanies living as a human being. For example, humans are the only animal that knows it is going to die. This knowledge drives us to search for the meaning of life; this quest, however, implies that the meaning may not be found or, worse, that life is simply meaningless, which is what brings the dread. West has this sort of thing in mind but modifies it by making it specific to African Americans: “black existential angst that derives from the lived experience of ontological wounds and emotional scars inflected by white supremacist beliefs and images permeating U.S. society and culture” (p. 27). The word ontology means the study of existence; these wounds and scars thus originate in whites denying blacks their human existence.
What was the American Colonization Society?
The American Colonization Society (ACS; in full, “The Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America”), established in 1816 by Robert Finley of New Jersey,an attempt to satisfy two groups in America. Ironically, these groups were on opposite ends of the spectrum involving slavery in the early 1800s,[4] as well as the primary vehicle to support the return of free African Americans to what was considered greater freedom in Africa. It helped to found the colony of Liberia in 1821-22 as a place for freedmen. Among its supporters were Charles Fenton Mercer, Henry Clay, John Randolph, and Richard Bland Lee.[1][2][3][5]

Beginning in 1786, just after the American Revolution the British society, the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor, launched its efforts to establish the Sierra Leone Province of Freedom for escaped colonial slaves. Paul Cuffee, a wealthy mixed-race New England shipowner and activist, was an early advocate of settling freed blacks in Africa. He gained support from black leaders and members of the US Congress for an emigration plan. In 1811 and 1815-16, he financed and captained successful voyages to British-ruled Sierra Leone, where he helped African-American immigrants get established.[6] Although Cuffee died in 1817, his efforts may have inspired the American Colonization Society (ACS) to initiate further settlements.

The ACS was a coalition made up mostly of evangelicals and Quakers who supported abolition, and Chesapeake slaveholders who understood that unfree labor did not constitute the economic future of the nation. They found common ground in support of so-called “repatriation”. They believed blacks would face better chances for full lives in Africa than in the United States. The slaveholders opposed state or federally mandated abolition, but saw repatriation as a way to remove free blacks and avoid slave rebellions.[2] From 1821, thousands of free black Americans moved to Liberia from the United States. Over twenty years, the colony continued to grow and establish economic stability. In 1847, the legislature of Liberia declared the nation an independent state.

Critics have said the ACS was a racist society, while others point to its benevolent origins and later takeover by men with visions of an American empire in Africa. The Society closely controlled the development of Liberia until its declaration of independence. By 1867, the ACS had assisted in the movement of more than 13,000 Americans to Liberia. From 1825 to 1919, it published the African Repository and Colonial Journal. After 1919, the society had essentially ended, but it did not formally dissolve until 1964, when it transferred its papers to the Library of Congress.

What about the Back-to-Africa movement? (Douglass)
Howard Brotz (2009) tells us, “The first issue to arise within Negro opinion concerned emigration” (p. 1). The goal of emigration, or the Back-to- Africa movement, was to return free blacks to Africa. The movement formally began with the establishment of the American Colonization Society in 1816. In the beginning decades of the nineteenth century, there was a significant increase in the Northern black population. In the North, the movement was generally motivated by whites’ fears of integration and white workers’ fears of losing their jobs to a cheaper work-force. The South feared the presence of a free black population in the United States; it would, they reasoned, create unrest among blacks in slavery. The movement lost momentum in mid-century but was rekindled during and after Reconstruction (1865-1877). White-on-black violence increased dramatically after the Civil War through such paramilitary groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the White League, and the Red Shirts; and the Back-to-Africa, or emigration, movement was seen as a solu¬tion. The American Colonization Society eventually returned somewhere around 13,000 blacks to Africa, most of them to Liberia.
What was the Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford decision?
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that African Americans, whether enslaved or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,[2][3] and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an enslaved African American man who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7-2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request. For only the second time in its history the Supreme Court ruled an Act of Congress to be unconstitutional.[4]

Although Taney hoped that his ruling would settle the slavery question once and for all, the decision immediately spurred vehement dissent from anti-slavery elements in the North, especially Republicans. Most scholars today (as did many contemporary lawyers) consider the ruling regarding slavery in the territories to be dictum, not binding precedent. The decision would prove to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War. It was functionally superseded by the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave blacks full citizenship. As of 2007 it is widely regarded by scholars as the worst decision made by the United States Supreme Court.[3][5][6]

The Back-to-Africa movement was one of the issues that eventually split Douglass and Garrison, especially as it became intertwined with the Constitution. Though he eventually left the American Colonization Society, Garrison argued that the Constitution was racist to its core and the only way to bring equality was to dissolve the Union; Douglass argued that the Constitution was free of racism and could be used to bring about universal equality. Douglass’s position is nowhere clearer than in his response to the Dred Scott Decision. Dred Scott v. John E A. Sandford is a case that was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857. Scott was a slave who was born in a slave state but whose master had taken him to live in states
where slavery was prohibited. The Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision ruled that Scott couldn’t sue because blacks had no rights of citizenship. Further, the judges argued that the framers of the Constitution saw blacks as an inferior race having no rights that a white man was legally bound to respect, and that a decision in favor of Scott could be seen as granting the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to all men of the Negro race.
In his response to the Dred Scott Decision, Douglass addressed Garrison directly. Garrison and his crew had been telling Douglass (1857/2009d), “while in the Union, we are responsible for slavery” (p. 255). Douglass agreed, but Douglass disagreed fervently with Garrison’s solution of dissolving or leaving the Union: “in telling us that we shall cease to be responsible for slavery by dissolving the Union, he and they have not told us the truth” (p. 255). Douglass likened it to family responsibility: A man may desert his family and move miles away. Though he would be out of sight of his children, “it cannot free him from responsibility. Though he should roll the waters of three oceans between him and them, he could not roll from his soul the burden of this responsibility” (p. 255). Douglass sees his and every American’s responsibility as tightly bound to the ethical and moral responsibilities of democracy. Douglass finds the basis for this argument in the Constitution.

What was Douglass’s opinion about the Constitution?
Douglass (1857/2009d) spoke out powerfully and eloquently in defense of the Constitution. His main premise is that the Constitution speaks for “‘We the people’—not we, the white people—not we, the citizens, or the legal voters—not we, the privileged class… not we, the horses and cattle, but we the people—men and women, the human inhabitants of the United States” (p. 257 ). His argument is thus based on universalism, Universalism can best be understood in contrast to particularism: the belief that the right to social justice and equality is restricted to one particular group. This idea is key to the work of the civil sphere. “We need to understand,” Alexander (2006) tells us, that civil society is a sphere that is “morally more universalistic vis-à-vis the state and the market and other social spheres as well” (p. 31, emphasis added).
What other document was dear to Douglass?
In another place, Douglass (1863/2009c) makes his argument more pointed: “The Constitution did not hold the slave tight enough. The Declaration of Independence did not hold the slave at all” (p. 269). Notice that here Douglass actually gives more weight to the Declaration of Independence. The importance of this reference is that it echoes one of his contemporaries, Abraham Lincoln. In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln famously said, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Historian Garry Wills ( 1978) points out that Lincoln’s phrase “four score and seven years ago” “takes us back to 1776, the year of the Declaration” (p. xvi).
The reason that Douglass and Lincoln refer to the Declaration is that it embodies “the pure spirit of the nation’s Idea” (Wills, 1978, p. xviii). Lincoln confirms that the phrase “all men are created equal” did nothing to separate us from Great Britain; it was put in for future use. Its authors meant it to be—as, thank God, it is now proving itself—a stumbling block … to all those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. (Lincoln, as quoted in Wills, 1978, p. xviii)
We talked about the importance of the Idea of democracy in Chapter 1 as well. Through Douglass, we’re beginning to see the significance of the idea: It’s the idea of democracy, not the reality that propels us forward. The idea of all men are created equal is a constant challenge to the way we live our lives with other people. It’s that tension between fact and ideal that is the energy of democracy.
What about the ideal of democracy?
We talked about the importance of the Idea of democracy in Chapter 1 as well. Through Douglass, we’re beginning to see the significance of the idea: It’s the idea of democracy, not the reality that propels us forward. The idea of all men are created equal is a constant challenge to the way we live our lives with other people. It’s that tension between fact and ideal that is the energy of democracy.
In this way, civil society is transcendent—and in this way, civil society is never complete. These two go together: Democracy is an ongoing project (never com¬plete) precisely because it is transcendent. In an insight that many today have forgotten, Douglass (1863/2009c) tells us that social equality “does not exist anywhere” (p. 271, emphasis added). In other words, democracy wasn’t finished after the founding documents were penned and democratic institutions put in place. No, equality does not exist anywhere as a settled state—it is the pursuit of equality, free¬dom, and happiness that marks a democratic society. The question for Douglass isn’t about whether social equality exists, nor is it about blacks being “mentally equal to his white brother,” nor is it about whether a black man “will be likely to reach the Presidential chair.” The issue for Douglass is whether or not black and white people in this country can “be blended into a common nationality, and enjoy together… the inestimable blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (p. 271). Democracy, then, never exists as such. It must be won anew not only with every generation, but with every possibility of extending life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to others.
To which other African-American activist is WEB DuBois compared and opposed?
Booker T. Washington.
What was the first organization DuBois founded, and why?
This disagreement with Washington influenced the early part of Du Bois’s political life; he founded the Niagara Movement in large part to counter Washington’s arguments.
What political shift did DuBois operate in the course of his life?
What is Pan-Africanism?
How did DB end his life?
Through most of his life, Du Bois generally favored integration, but toward the end he became discouraged at the lack of progress and increasingly turned toward Black Nationalism: He encouraged blacks to work together to create their own culture, art, and literature, and to create their own group economy of black producers and consumers. The cultural stand was directed at creating black pride and identity; the formation of a black economic community was the weapon to fight discrimination and black poverty. Du Bois was also a principal force in the Pan-African movement, which was founded on the belief that all black people share a common descent and should therefore work collectively around the globe for equality. As I mentioned, in the latter part of his life, Du Bois became disheartened at the lack of change regarding the color line in the United States, In the end, he renounced his citizenship; joined the Communist Party; and moved to Ghana, Africa.
What other organization did DB found? (second one)
What was entitled DB’s most notable work?
More than any other single person, Du Bois was responsible for black consciousness in America and probably the world during the twentieth century. His book. The Souls of Black Folk (1903/1996d), defined the problem of the color line. He was a founding member of the NAACP and its chief spokesperson during its most formative years, Du Bois also produced the first scientific studies of the black condition in America.
Did DB write before or after the Civil War?
Of course he wrote after !!!
Explain DB’s use of the pronoun “I”?
In all his work, Du Bois centers the subject in his writing. One of the things most of us are taught in college English is that we should write from a de-centered point of view. We are supposed to avoid using “I” and “me” and should always write from an objective perspective. Yet Du Bois begins one of his most famous works, Souls of Black Folk, with “Between me and the other world…” In another place
he wonders, “Who and what is this I…?”Du Bois isn’t being self-centered, nor is he unaware of the rules of composition. He is being quite deliberate in his use of personal pronouns and the centered subject. Du Bois is a social scientist and pro¬duced one of the first systematic studies of African Americans, yet he also tells us that race is not something that can be understood through the cold, disassociated stance of the researcher. Race and all marginal positions must be experienced to be understood. Du Bois uses his life as the canvas upon which to paint the struggles of the black race in America and in the world: “that men may listen to the striving in the souls of black folk” (Du Bois, 1903/1996d, p. 107, emphasis added).
Define the “standpoint of the oppressed”
Standpoint of the Oppressed
There are two things I think this subjective stance implies: The first is my own comment, and the other is something I think Du Bois has in mind. First, any sec-ondary reading of Du Bois, such as the book you have in your hands, falls short of the mark. This is generally true of any of the thinkers in this book—you would be much richer reading Durkheim than reading what somebody says about Durkheim—but it is particularly true of Du Bois. Part of what you can acquire from reading Du Bois is an experience, and that experience is a piece of what Du Bois wants to communicate.
The second implication of Du Bois’s multidimensional, subjective approach is theoretical. Du Bois (1903/1996d) says that:

the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second- sight in this American World,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world, (p. 102)

Explain DB’s metaphor of the veil.
Du Bois employs spiritual language here. The veil of which he speaks is the birth caul. In some births, the inner fetal membrane tissue doesn’t rupture and it covers the head at delivery. This caul appears in about 1 in 1,000 births. Due to its rarity, some traditional cultures consider such a birth spiritually significant, and the caul is kept for good luck. The same is true of the seventh son reference. The seventh son is considered to have special powers, and references to such are to be found in many folk and blues songs as well as in the Bible. The “second-sight” is a reference to clairvoyant or prophetic vision.
Thus, Du Bois is saying that because of their experiential position, African Americans are gifted with special insight, a prophetic vision, into the American world. They see themselves not simply as they are; they also see their position from the perspective of the other world. In other words, blacks and other oppressed groups have a particular point of view of society that allows them to see certain truths about the social system that escape others. This idea of critical consciousness goes back to Marx. Marxian philosophy argues that only those on the outside of a system can understand its true workings; it is difficult to critically and reflexively understand a system if you accept its legitimation. In other words, capitalists and those who benefit from capitalism by definition believe in capitalism. It is difficult for a capitalist to understand the oppressive workings of capitalism because in doing so the person would be condemning her- or himself.
Contemporary feminists argue that it is the same with patriarchy: Men have a vested interest in the patriarchal system and will thus have a tendency to believe the ideology and have difficulty critiquing their own position. Dorothy Smith, a con-temporary feminist, refers to this as standpoint theory. In general, this refers to a theory that is produced from the point of view of an oppressed subject:
an inquiry into a totality of social relations beginning from a site outside and prior to textual discourses. Women’s standpoint [is seen] here as specifically subversive of the standpoint of a knowledge of ourselves and our society vested in relations of ruling. (D. E. Smith, 1987, p. 212)
Du Bois is thus arguing that African Americans have, by virtue of their position, a critical awareness of the American social system. This awareness can be a cultural resource that facilitates structural change. As Du Bois (1903/1996d) puts it, “This, then, is the end of his striving: to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers and his latent genius” (p. 102).
Who coined the phrase “standpoint theory” and what does it denotes?
Contemporary feminists argue that it is the same with patriarchy: Men have a vested interest in the patriarchal system and will thus have a tendency to believe the ideology and have difficulty critiquing their own position. Dorothy Smith, a con-temporary feminist, refers to this as standpoint theory. In general, this refers to a theory that is produced from the point of view of an oppressed subject:
an inquiry into a totality of social relations beginning from a site outside and prior to textual discourses. Women’s standpoint [is seen] here as specifically subversive of the standpoint of a knowledge of ourselves and our society vested in relations of ruling. (D. E. Smith, 1987, p. 212)
What is the link between nation-states and grand narratives?
One of the things that oppression in modernity has done is deny the voice of the Other. In the Durkheim chapter, we saw that one of the characteristics of modern society is the grand narrative. Nation-states provide all-encompassing stories about history and national identity. The purpose of such narratives is to offer a kind of Durkheimian rallying point for social solidarity. This sort of solidarity is necessary tor nations to carry out large-scale programs, especially such things as colonization and war. The problem with such a narrative is that it hides inequities. For example, the grand narrative of equality in the United States was actually a story about white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males. Hidden in the national narrative and history was (and still is) the subjugation of Native Americans, African Americans, women, Mexican Americans, homosexuals, and so forth.
What are theories of difference and why was DB’s sociological approach groundbreaking?
Contemporary theories of difference, then, focus on the subjective experience of the disenfranchised in contrast to this grand narrative. One of the things that is important in the fight for equality is allowing multiple voices to be heard; thus, we have recently moved from the cultural picture of the “melting pot” to that of the “salad bowl” in the United States. Du Bois’s perspective is quite in keeping with this emphasis. In his own work, he uses the subjective mode to express the experience of the oppressed. He becomes a representative figure through which we might understand the plight of black people in America. Both Martineau and Gilman (Chapter 7) did use multiple approaches in expressing their ideas, and some of those used the first person, but not to the degree of Du Bois. Part of what this multiple-voiced approach entails is valuing the outsider’s point of view. And, interestingly Du Bois is much more in tune with this feminist idea of standpoint theory than either Martineau or Gilman, neither of whom privileges outsider knowledge. In that sense, Du Bois’s work contains a more critical edge, again in keeping with much of contemporary analysis.
Du Bois was a prolific writer, so I have chosen to focus on particular points of his discourse about race. In my opinion, Du Bois’s lasting contribution to social theory is his understanding of cultural oppression. In the following section on cultural oppression, we will see that it is just as necessary as structural oppression in the suppression of a social group. Du Bois’s understanding of this process is quite good. He argues that cultural oppression involves exclusion from history, specific kinds of symbolic representations, and the use of stereotypes and their cultural logic of default assumptions. This cultural work results in a kind of “double con¬sciousness,” wherein the disenfranchised see themselves from two contradictory points of view. However, Du Bois isn’t only interested in cultural oppression; he also gives us a race-based theory of world capitalism. In the section on the dark nations and world capitalism, we will see that it isn’t only the elite capitalists that benefit from the exploitation of blacks and other people of color; the middle class benefits as well.
What are “lies agreed upon”?
What did DB propose to counter these “lies agreed upon”?
The legitimation of institutions through the writing of history (unquestionable and written by white men)

History plays an important part in legitimating our social structures; this is known as history as ideology. No one living has a personal memory of why we created the institutions that we have. So, for example, why does the government func¬tion the way it does in the United States? No one personally knows; instead, we have a historical account or story of how and why it came about. Because we weren’t there, this history takes on objective qualities and feels like a fact, and this facticity legitimates our institutions and social arrangements unquestionably. But, Du Bois tells us, the current history is written from a politicized point of view: Because women and people of color were not seen as having the same status and rights as white men, our history did not see them. We have been blind to their contributions and place in society. The fact that we now have Black and Women’s History Months underscores this historical blindness. Du Bois calls this kind of ideological history “lies agreed upon.”
Du Bois, however, holds out the possibility of a scientific history. This kind of history would be guided by ethical standards in research and interpretation, and the record of human action would be written with accuracy and faithfulness of detail. Du Bois envisions this history acting as a guidepost and measuring rod for national conduct. Du Bois presents this formulation of history as a choice: We can either use history “for our pleasure and amusement, for inflating our national ego,” or we can use it as a moral guide and handbook for future generations (Du Bois, 1935/1996c,
p. 440).

What is representation?
(Stuart Hall, Mead, Barthes)
Representation is a term that has become extremely important in contempo-rary cultural analysis. Stuart Hall, for example, argues that images and objects by themselves don’t mean anything. We see this idea in Mead’s theory as well. The meaning has to be constructed, and we use representational systems of concepts and ideas. Representation, then, is the symbolic practice through which meaning is given to the world around us. It involves the production and consumption of cultural items and is a major site of conflict, negotiation, and potential oppression.
Let me give you an illustration from Du Bois. Cultural domination through representation implies that the predominantly white media do not truly represent people of color. As Du Bois (1920/1996b) says, “The whites obviously seldom pic¬ture brown and yellow folk, but for five hundred centuries they have exhausted every ingenuity of trick, of ridicule and caricature on black folk” (pp. 39-60). The effect of such representation is cultural and psychological: The disenfranchised read the representations and may become ashamed of their own image. Du Bois gives an example from his own work at The Crisis (the official publication of the NAACP). The Crisis put a picture of a black person on the cover of their magazine. When the (predominantly black) readers saw the representation, they perceived it (or consumed it) as “the caricature that white folks intend when they make a black face,” Du Bois queried some of his office staff about the reaction. They said the problem wasn’t that the person was black; the problem was that the person was too black. To this, Du Bois replied, “Nonsense! Do white people complain because their pictures are too white?” (p. 60).
While Du Bois never phrased it quite this way, Roland Barthes (1964/1967), a contemporary semiologist (someone who studies signs), explains that cultural signs, symbols, and images can have both denotative and connotative functions. Denotative functions are the direct meanings. They are the kind of thing you can look up in an ordinary dictionary. Cultural signs and images can also have secondary, or connotative, meanings. These meanings get attached to the original word and create other, wider fields of meaning. At times, these wider fields of meaning can act like myths, creating hidden meanings behind the apparent. Thus, systems of connotation can link ideological messages to more primary, denotative meanings. In cultural oppression, then, the dominant group represents those who are subjugated in such a way that negative connotative meanings and myths are produced. This kind of complex layering of ideological meanings is why members of a disenfranchised group can simultaneously be proud and ashamed of their heritage. As a case in point, the black office colleagues to whom Du Bois refers can be proud of being black but at the same time offer an explanation that an image is too black.
Stereotypes and slippery slopes.
How does cultural legitimation work?
In addition to history and misrepresentation, the cultural representation of oppression consists of being defined as a problem: “Between me and the other world this is ever an unasked question…. How does it feel to be a problem?” (Du Bois, 1903/1996d, p. 101). Representations of the group thus focus on its shortcomings, and these images come to dominate the general culture as stereotypes:
While sociologists gleefully count his bastards and his prostitutes, the very soul of the toiling, sweating black man is darkened by the shadow of a vast despair. Men call the shadow prejudice, and learnedly explain it as the natural defense of culture against barbarism, learning against ignorance, purity against crime, the “higher” against the “lower” races. To which the Negro cries Amen!” (p. 105)
I want to point out that last bit of the quote from Du Bois. He says that the black person agrees with this cultural justification of oppression. Here we can see one of the insidious ways in which cultural legitimation works. It presents us with an apparent truth that, once we agree to it. can reflexively destroy us. Here’s how this bit of cultural logic works: The learned person says that discrimination and prejudice are necessary. Why? They are needed to demarcate the boundaries between civilized and uncivilized, learning and ignorance, morality and sin, right and wrong. We agree that we should be prejudiced against sin and evil, and against uncivilized and barbarous behavior, and we do so in a very concrete manner. For example, we are prejudiced against allowing a criminal in our home. We thus agree that prejudice is a good thing. Once we agree with the general thesis, it can then be more easily turned specifically against us.
Remember I spoke of Hofstadter’s “slippery slope of sexism” in the section on Douglass? Du Bois has a similar slope in mind, but obviously one that entails race. In this section from The Souls of Black Folk from which we have been quoting, Du Bois says that the Negro stands “helpless, dismayed, and well-nigh speechless” before the “nameless prejudice” that becomes expressed in “the all-pervading desire to inculcate disdain for everything black” (Du Bois, 1903/1996d, p. 103). In Darkwater(1920/1996a), Du Bois refers to this slippery slope as a “theory of human culture” (p. 505). This work of culture has “worked itself through warp and woof of our daily thought” We use the term white to analogously refer to everything that is good, pure, and decent. The term black is likewise reserved for things despicable, ignorant, and fearful. There is thus a moral, default assumption in back of these terms that automatically, though not necessarily or even deliberately, includes the cultural identities of white and black.
In our cultural language, we also perceive these two categories as mutually exclusive. For example, we will use the phrase “this issue isn’t black or white” to refer to something that is undecided, that can’t tit in simple, clear, and mutually exclusive categories. The area in between is a gray, no-person’s land. It is culturally logical, then, to perceive unchangeable differences between the black and white races, which is the cultural logic behind the “one drop rule” (the slavery-era determination that one drop of black blood makes someone black). Again, keep in mind that this movement between the specific and general is unthinkingly applied. People don’t have to intentionally use these terms as ways to racially discriminate. The cultural default is simply there, waiting to swallow up the identities and individuals that lay in its path.
From which theory does DB draw to articulate his theory of double-consciousness?
Du Bois attunes us to yet another insidious cultural mechanism of oppression: the internalization of the double consciousness. With this idea, Du Bois is drawing on his knowledge of early pragmatic theories of self. He knew William James and undoubtedly came in contact with the works of Mead and of Charles Horton Cooley. We can think of Mead’s theory of role taking and Cooley’s looking glass self (explained subsequently) and see how the double consciousness is formed. According to Du Bois, African Americans have another subjective awareness that comes from their particular group status (being black and all that that entails), and they have an awareness based on their general status group (being American). What this means is that people in disenfranchised groups see themselves from the position of two perspectives.
Define double-consciousness.
Double consciousness is part of Du Bois’s understanding of the black experience in the United States. It generally refers to the experience of one’s identity being fragmented into several, contradictory facets. These facets are at war with and negate one another so that the disenfranchised is left with no true consciousness. As Du Bois (1903/1996d)explains, “One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder” (p. 102). In this way, Du Bois argues that African Americans internalize the cultural images produced through the ruling, white culture. They also internalize their own group-specific culture.
Explain Cooley’s theory of the “looking-glass self”.
Let’s think about this issue using Charles Horton Cooley’s notion of the looking glass self. In Cooley’s theory, the sense of one’s self is derived from the perceptions of others. There are three phases in Cooley’s scheme. First, we imagine what we look like to other people, we then imagine their judgment of that appearance, and we then react emotionally with either pride or shame to that judgment. An important point for us to see is that Cooley didn’t say that we actually perceive how others see and judge us; rather, we imagine their perceptions and judgments. However, this imagination is not based on pure speculation; it is based on social concepts of ways to look (cultural images), ways to behave (scripts), and ways we anticipate others will behave, based on their social category (expectations). In this way, Du Bois argues that African Americans internalize the cultural images produced through the ruling, white culture. They also internalize their own group-specific culture.
Blacks thus see themselves from at least two different and at times contradictory perspectives.
In several places, Du Bois relates experiences through which his own double consciousness was formed. In this particular one, we can see Cooley’s looking glass at work:
In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys’ and girls’ heads to buy gorgeous visiting-cards—ten cents a package—and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card,—refused it peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others: or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. (Du Bois, 1903/19964, p. 101)
How does cultural oppression work? What is its method?
In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys’ and girls’ heads to buy gorgeous visiting-cards—ten cents a package—and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card,—refused it peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others: or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. (Du Bois, 1903/19964, p. 101)

We can thus see in Du Bois’s work a general theory of cultural oppression. That is, every group that is oppressed structurally (economically and politically) will be oppressed culturally. The basic method is as he outlines it: Define and label the group in general as a problem, emphasize and stereotype the group’s shortcomings and define them as intrinsic to the group, employ cultural mechanisms (like misrepresentation and default assumptions) so the negative attributes are taken for granted, and systematically exclude the group from the grand narrative histories of the larger collective.

What is DB’s Marxist take on capitalism?
He argued that the greater the level of workers’ education, the greater the awareness of the quirks and deficiencies of the system (they grow more aware of their being exploited basically).
What is “world systems theory”?
How does DB tie this back to race and the middle-class?
World-systems theory (also known as world-systems analysis or the world-systems perspective),[1] a multidisciplinary, macro-scale approach to world history and social change, emphasizes the world-system (and not nation states) as the primary (but not exclusive) unit of social analysis.[1][2]

“World-system” refers to the inter-regional and transnational division of labor, which divides the world into core countries, semi-periphery countries, and the periphery countries.[2] Core countries focus on higher skill, capital-intensive production, and the rest of the world focuses on low-skill, labor-intensive production and extraction of raw materials.[3] This constantly reinforces the dominance of the core countries.[3] Nonetheless, the system has dynamic characteristics, in part as a result of revolutions in transport technology, and individual states can gain or lose their core (semi-periphery, periphery) status over time.[3] For a time, some countries become the world hegemon; during the last few centuries, as the world-system has extended geographically and intensified economically, this status has passed from the Netherlands, to the United Kingdom and (most recently) to the United States of America.[3]


As a result, the economic system inexorably pushes against its national boundaries and seeks a labor force ready for exploitation. This notion of expanding systems and exporting exploitation is part of current world systems theory. World systems theory argues that core nations exploit periphery nations so places like the United States can have high wages and relatively cheap goods. In that theory, the issue is simply the economic standing of a nation, but Du Bois tells us that the reality of those nations is color. “There is a chance for exploitation on an immense scale for inordinate profit, not simply to the very rich, but to the middle class and to the laborers. This chance lies in the exploitation of darker peoples” (Du Bois, 1920/ 1996a, pp. 304-305). These are “dark lands” ripe for exploitation “with only one test of success,—dividends!” (p. 505). In other words, middle-class wages in advanced industrialized nations are based on there being racial groups for exploitation.

What were the two previous types of slavery before chattel slavery?
-Captive slavery
-Indentured slavery
As capitalism grew in power and its need for cheap labor increased, indentured and captive slavery moved to chattel slavery. Slavery has existed for much of human history, but it was used primarily as a tool for controlling and punishing a conquered people or criminal behavior, or as a method for people to pay off debt or get ahead. The latter is referred to as indentured servitude. People would contract themselves into slavery, typically tor 7 years, in return for a specific service, like pas¬sage to America, or to pay off debt. In most of these forms of slavery, there were obligations that the master had to the slave, but not so with chattel slavery. Under capitalism, people could be defined as property—the word itself means
property—and there are no obligations of owner to property. In this move to chat¬tel slavery, black became not simply a race but the race of distinction. The existence of race, then, immutably determined who could be owned and who was free, who had rights and who did not.
When did the invention of race happened?
Du Bois argues that the idea of “personal whiteness” is a very modern thing, coming into being only in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Humans have apparently always made distinctions, but not along racial lines. Prior to modernity, people created group boundaries of exclusion by marking civilized and uncivilized cultures, religions, and territorial identities. As William Roy (2001) notes, these boundaries lack the essential features of race—they were not seen as biologically rooted or immutable, and people could thus change. Race, on the other hand, is perceived as immutable and is thus a much more powerful way of oppressing people.
What is one of DB’s biggest issues with modernity?
His book, The Souls of Black Folk, defined the problem
of the color line.

Origin of the phrase:
It is difficult to find an exact origin of the phrase “the color line”. In 1881 Frederick Douglass published an article with that title in the North American Review.

At the First Pan-African Conference in London in July 1900, the delegates adopted an “Address to the Nations of the World”, drafted by Du Bois and to which he was a signatory, that contained the sentence: “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the colour-line”.[1]

Three years later, in his 1903 book, Du Bois used the phrase first in his introduction, titled “The Forethought”, writing: “This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of color line”. The phrase occurs again in the book’s second essay, “Of the Dawn of Freedom”, at both its beginning and its end. At the outset of the essay, Du Bois writes: “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea”. At the end of the essay, Du Bois truncates his statement to: “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line”, the more frequently quoted version of the sentiment.[2]

Ample nuance exists among the three versions of Du Bois’ prediction, as within a very short amount of text Du Bois provides the reader with three incarnations of the thought. Some of the difference may be the result of the original serialization of the work, as parts of The Souls of Black Folk were originally serialized, many in The Atlantic Monthly. The first reference draws the reader in with a direct reference, while the second goes so far as to identify all of the areas in the world where Du Bois believed the color-line was “the problem of the twentieth century”. All imply, whether directly or passively, that the color-line extends outside the bounds of the United States.

Du Bois’ changing attitude toward the phrase:
Many decades later, in 1952, nine years before he moved to Ghana,[7] Du Bois wrote an essay for Jewish Life magazine about his experiences during a trip to Poland and his changing attitude toward his phrase “the color-line”. In the short essay, entitled “The Negro and the Warsaw Ghetto”, Du Bois wrote about his three trips to Poland, particularly his third in 1949, during which he viewed the remains of the Warsaw Ghetto. Du Bois wrote:

The result of these three visits, and particularly of my view of the Warsaw ghetto, was not so much clearer understanding of the Jewish problem in the world as it was a real and complete understanding of the Negro problem. In the first place, the problem of slavery, emancipation and caste in the United States was no longer in my mind a separate and unique thing as I had so long conceived it. It was not even solely a matter of color and physical and racial characteristics, which was particularly a hard thing for me to learn, since for a lifetime the color line had been a real and efficient cause of misery.

He goes on to write: “No, the race problem in which I was interested cut across lines of color and physique and belief and status and was a matter of cultural patterns, perverted teaching and human hate and prejudice, which reached all sorts of people and caused endless evil to all men.”[8] These quotations are of note because they reflect an expansion of DuBois’ original definition of the color-line to include discrimination beyond that of color discrimination, Du Bois also pared down his definition to acknowledge that the “problem of the color-line” as he initially imagined it existed in the United States and did not manifest itself identically across the world. Though discrimination existed everywhere, Du Bois expanded his mindset to include discrimination beyond that of simply black versus white.

What is cultural suppression and how does it operate (mechanisms)?
What are the “dark nations” and what is their relationship with capitalism according to DB?
All structural oppression must be accompanied by cultural suppression. There are several mechanisms of cultural suppression: denial of history, controlling representation, and the use of stereotypes and default assumptions. As a result of cultural suppression, minorities have a double consciousness. They are aware of themselves from their group’s point of view, which is positive, and they are conscious of their identity from the oppressor’s position, which is negative. They are aware of themselves as black (in the case of African Americans), and they are aware of themselves as American—two potentially opposing viewpoints.
Capitalism is based on exploitation: Owners pay workers less than the value of their work. Therefore, capitalism must always have a group to exploit. In global capitalism, where the capitalist economy overreaches the boundaries of the state, it is the same: There must be a group to exploit. Global capitalism finds such a group in the “dark nations.” Capitalists thus export their exploitation, and both capitalists and white workers in the core nations benefit, primarily because goods produced on the backs of sweatshop labor are cheaper.
Subpart on the PoMo twist is awesome
Modern v. Postmodern identities (fragmented selves, intersectionality).